When they announced the full lineup of the Genesis Mini, did you wonder where the Aladdin game was? Turns out it was being withheld for its own special release, and you won’t need a miniconsole to play it. When are Aladdin and The Lion King coming back?
Aladdin on Genesis shocked the world when it was released in 1993, one year after the movie. The sprites were animated by the team from the film, the level layout was by Shiny Entertainment (Earthworm Jim), and it looked like no other video game at the time. Its existence prompted the competition to look into enhancing its own visuals. Donkey Kong Country landed one year later and the graphics arms race was on.
Genesis Aladdin is a true classic….The Lion King less so. It’s by the same team, it’s just as pretty, it sounds great…but it’s also MUCH harder than Aladdin, to the point of being nearly unplayable. Rumor has it Shiny was responding to feedback from rental store owners, who felt children were beating Aladdin too fast.
The version of The Lion King that appears here is the same game, but you now have the option of cheats like invincibility, infinite lives, a rewind function, and when all else fails, a new feature called the Interactive Game Viewer where the game just plays itself until you tell it to stop. You might think you’re above such cheap tricks, but you haven’t been to the Elephant Graveyard yet.
The Lion King has the Genesis, SNES and Game Boy versions of the title. Aladdin has Genesis, Game Boy and…..Game Boy with the garish default palette you got when you stuck it into a Game Boy Color? That’s not different enough! And there actually WAS a color conversion of that game, rereleased for the GBC in 2000. Why didn’t they use it?
A bigger question you might have is where the SNES Aladdin is….well, it was a completely different game produced by Capcom, not Shiny, and odds are they couldn’t obtain the rights. It’s a shame, as the Capcom version has its own strengths, and its own fanbase.
Disney Classic Games: Aladdin And The Lion King has some VERY cool extras…how does the original CES trade show demo for Aladdin sound? It’s playable here, and there’s also a museum mode full of drawings and sketches. The original programmers also went back into the source code (which miraculously survives) and fixed up some bugs in both games.
The trailer mentions a vague “Fall 2019” release date, but Best Buy lists Disney Classic Games: Aladdin And The Lion King as coming out on October 29. $29.99 on Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, XBox One and PC via Steam. If you’ve never played these games before, or you were too young, you’re in for a treat.